Tone Poem Tuesday

Here is the last Tone Poem Tuesday until after Christmas! I’m putting this feature on a brief hiatus for reasons that will become clear in a few weeks. Nothing bad, but time for posting will be a crunch for quite a bit of December. I’m scheduling a bunch of posts ahead of time for the month, but this particular feature requires time for me to listen to the works I post before I write about them, and that amount of time may be tough to come by for much of the month. So, it’s easiest to put the Tone Poem Tuesday feature on hiatus until the Tuesday after Christmas.

Onto this week’s feature!

This work, by Arnold Bax, is appropriate for today: it is called November Woods, and it is a surprisingly turbulent and unsettled take on the emotional fabric of autumn. Bax is not conveying the feel of early or mid-autumn here, with cool days and trees aflame with wonderful color; here it feels like Bax is meditating on, well, the cold forests of late November, when the breeze cuts through the leafless trees like a knife and when everything is ice and rock and stone and cold, cold ground.

Apparently Bax’s personal life was a scene of upheaval when he wrote this piece–his marriage was failing and he was having an affair–so it’s clear why he didn’t compose a gentle meditation on fall, but rather a the stormy and windswept feel of a forest in late November. As I write this I’m looking out my back door at just such a scene: it’s snowing and the trees are waving back and forth in the stiff breeze. This piece fits.

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